Going to the dental clinic can be a scary experience — especially for young children. Symptoms of dental phobia generally emerge in young children and manifest with time. Understanding how to ease the fear of going to the dentist in young children can help encourage them to maintain better dental and oral hygiene in the future. Here are 3 things you should and should not do.

Follow the Pavlov's Classic Conditioning Model

People can be conditioned, as evident in Pavlov's classic conditioning model. By repeatedly pairing an activity or a stimulus with a particular signal, your mind can be conditioned to feel either negatively or positively about the stimulus. Opt for a dental clinic that carefully administers sedatives when performing dental procedures in order to minimise the amount of pain your children feel. After each dental visit, buy your children a treat or praise them. By doing this, your children will associate going to the dentist with happy thoughts. This will prevent dental phobia from manifesting and flourishing within their young minds.

Avoid Talking About Negative Experiences You've Had

Similarly, if going to the dentist is a new experience for your children, you definitely need to watch what you say in front of them as the accounts of your experience could set up some type of expectation in their mind. If you are constantly going on and on about how painful a procedure was or how uncomfortable you felt, your children will pick up on these negative thoughts and be more inclined to feel the same way.

Never Use Going to the Dentist as a Threat

Many parents use going to the dentist as a threat. Even if your children previously did not have any negative experiences with going to the dentist, using the experience as a threat will paint a more negative image. They'll believe that nobody wants to go to the dentist, and this will make them feel a lot more fearful or anxious the next time around.

Making an effort to ease the fear of going to the dentist in young children can really make your life a lot easier. You won't have to drag your children into the dental office. On top of that, your children will be a lot more willing to take care of their own dental and oral health, and will grow up with good habits. Talk with a dentist at a clinic like The Happy Tooth Kurri Kurri for more information.